The United States and Japan have agreed to add a second U.S. anti-ballistic missile radar installation in Japan, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced here today.
During a news conference following separate meetings with Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Koichiro Gemba and Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto, Panetta and Morimoto both discussed the radar’s significance.
The agreement “reflects our joint commitment to this alliance, and to promoting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region,” Panetta said.
A defense official traveling with Panetta told reporters on background the radar, a second Army Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance system, or AN-TPY-2, will augment one previously set up in Shariki on the northern part of Honshu island. A team from the United States arrived in Japan this week to work with Japanese officials in determining a site for the new radar, the official added.
The official said the radar is not a defense against China, but rather against the growing ballistic missile threat North Korea poses to “the U.S. homeland as well as U.S. citizens, our deployed forces, allies and partners in the region.”
“U.S. missile defense and Japan are focused on deterring North Korean aggression,” the official said, “and if deterrence fails, defending against the growing arsenal of North Korean ballistic missiles. North Korea has hundreds of ballistic missiles that can threaten our interests … [as well as] other countries in the region.”
The official said the land-based system will bolster regional security and allow flexibility in deploying ships equipped with the same radar, now stationed in the Asia-Pacific region, to other parts of the world as needed.
“The U.S. has been committed to the collective regional security of the Asia-Pacific region for decades, and to that end we cooperate with our partners on a broad range of capabilities, including missile defense,” the official said.
According to a Missile Defense Agency fact sheet, the AN-TPY-2 is an X-band, high-resolution, phased-array radar designed specifically for ballistic missile defense, capable of tracking all classes of ballistic missiles and identifying small objects at long distances.
Used with the Ballistic Missile Defense System, the AN-TPY-2 acts as advanced “eyes” for the system, detecting ballistic missiles early in their flight and providing precise tracking information for the system’s use.